White Roses

He once gave her a white rose. It meant 'purity, innocence', but it also meant so much more. She was good at reading between the lines, and the space between these particular lines was gaping. It seemed to be an unwitting declaration, but he was smarter than that. He wanted to say it in a way that others wouldn't understand, but he knew that she would.

He was in love with her. Yes, a red rose would have conveyed the message more clearly, but no one else was allowed to know. Because they couldn't be together. There was too much in their way. Her family, his family, their (minute) age difference. Just because he was two years older than her…

So this white rose was a reminder of everything between them. Because she was 'innocent', and he was most definitely not. He wished to 'corrupt' her, only if they were properly together, but not until then. He liked knowing that she was waiting for him, and that he was the only one for her. She was the only one for him; that was certain.

White roses symbolized their 'relationship'. So when she dies in the line of work – shewassobrave – he knows that she will be happy in death. One such as her, so innocent and pure, would not be made to suffer after her life has been lived. Of this he is sure. He only wishes that, when he eventually dies – notnow, shewouldbefurious –, he would be able to join her. But he knows that is a foolish dream.

He lays the first rose – blackasnight – on her grave. Somehow he's earned that privilege – orisitaright? – and he takes the opportunity gratefully. He is the first to walk away as well, because he can't let them see the tears. He knows that they know everything, but he's been hiding it all for so long that it's just become habit for him to hide it.

The black roses are false, dead, or in stasis. He's not entirely sure, nor will he go back to investigate. No matter what state they're in, he knows they no longer have a scent – if they ever did. He would swear to it. So why does he smell roses? He knows there are none growing here. Besides, it's a crisp autumn day, leaves of golds and oranges and reds and purples littering the cemetery. It's not the season for growing roses. He sees no other funerals in progress, so that's not the source of the scent.

Something falls gently into his hair, and he pulls it out. A white petal. He looks up, sees more of the petals starting to fall around him. Behind the petals, he makes out the faint outline – almostlikeaghost – of a rose in the air. And he can't help it, he cries more as he smiles.

Yes, he will miss her for the rest of his days. Yes, he will never be able to move on, no matter how much he tries. Yes, he may never be as happy again as he once was. But that's okay. Because he knows that she will always be there. Because he loved – loves – her, and she loved – loves – him. Because 'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.